Background The aim of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients who are living with a progressive, life threatening illness. In order to achieve this, the patient needs to be cared for as a person. However, current research indicates that this is not always achieved in the acute hospital setting.
Aim This feasibility study set out to determine the practicalities and effectiveness of using the ‘Patient Dignity Question’, (Chochinov 2010) an intervention derived from extensive, empirical research on dignity near the end of life, in order to enhance person-centred care.
Methods A mixed methods feasibility study using both patient reported outcomes measures (person centred climate questionnaire PCCQ; Patient Dignity Question questionnaire (developed by Chochinov et al), and semi-structured interviews was adopted underpinned by pragmatic theory. The study was conducted in a large teaching hospital with a purposive sample of nine patients and five healthcare professionals.
Results The results of indicate that is feasible to carry out this type of study for people with palliative needs in the acute care setting. Adopting a mixed methods approach was effective in answering the research questions and meeting the study aims. The primary outcome measure was effective in determining the person-centred nature of the hospital climate. However, it was unable to determine if the ‘Patient Dignity Question’ had a direct influence on this.
Conclusion Study participants were willing and happy to take part in this study despite their illness and environment. Participants found the ‘Patient Dignity Question’ and summary both useful and practical. They described it as an intervention that can help to improve the care patients receive and help them feel valued as an individual. A funded study with 30 patient, 30 family members and 30 health professionals is now being undertaken with a before and after trial design.
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